Alcohol ordinance first reading Tuesday
The proposed alcohol ordinance will have its first reading Tuesday and the Hiawassee City Council discussed some of the issues with it before putting it on the agenda, including a free-market approach versus regulating the number of package stores, and rewording the brown bag portion. The first reading will be at
Anne Mitchell voiced concern about limiting the number of licenses granted for package store.
“I don’t see why the free market system can’t control how many liquor stores we have,” said Mitchell.
The alcohol ordinance established one store per 30,000 people.
“I know Liz (Ordiales) doesn’t like the notion of a business failing,” Mitchell said. “If we put a limit on it, I feel like we are going to a place we don’t want to go.”
Another council member countered. “As a business owner, I agree with (Ordiales),” she said. “With a lot of our vendors, they have a security thing in place that you can’t sell certain products within a certain mile radius as other businesses.”
Council member Amy Barrett said she saw both sides of the issue. Although concerned the city would have a lot of package stores, she said that Barnett made a “valid point.”
“We don’t regulate any other business,” she pointed out.
As for the brown bag provision, Ordiales posed a question.
“It only states wine is allowed. What if I want an ale? A stout?” she asked.
“Then you should have one,” Barrett said.
The alcohol ordinance will be reworded prior to Tuesday’s meeting. A second reading and vote will happen in October.
Property tax collections moving to the city
The city is transitioning tax collection from the tax commissioners office to the city, an effort that has been a little bumpy.
“We received the five-year history and the tax rollback,” said Liz Ordiales, mayor. “I haven’t had time to review them and the folks at the tax commissioner’s office have been less than helpful in transitioning.”
Still, she said Jennifer Gardner, court clerk, has been leading the effort and doing a good job.
“We’ve got a meeting Wednesday with the GMA (Georgia Municipal Association) tax guru’s who will teach us how to properly do this and make sure we transition everything over,” said Ordailes.
On Tuesday’s agenda
- Discussion on applying nitrogen to Town Square as part of maintenance. The cost is $85 per applications with six to seven applications per year, running $510-$595 we’ll vote for it on Tuesday
- Discussion on how to repair the intake which is sinking at the water plant. Ordiales said renting a barge for three days would cost $229,000, however they received an estimate for a temporary repair for $50,000 followed by a permanent fix in the winter for $50,000 for a total of $100,000
- Voting on Alcohol License for Tilted Caféon.
- Voting on CARES Act resolution. The city qualified for $46,000 and a resolution is needed to collect it. The CARES Act allows the government to recoup expenses related to the pandemic.
- Discussions will continue on whether or not to hold the Halloween event.
- A final discussion on the technology fee.
- Discussion of a new email contract using a company out of Oregon. The cost would run $4,600 a year including Microsoft updates.
- First reading on a Two Readings at One meeting resolution. This would allow the city council to read and vote on agenda items in one session instead of two.
READ ABOUT TOWNS COUNTY'S FINANCIAL STATUS HERE.
Old Business and announcements
- The county has 184 cases of COVID-19, including five deaths. The city offices continue to be closed to the public, who can use the drop boxes or call 706-896-2222.
- Added the outside stair case to the sewer plant.
- Found 32 places that had a substantial leak; 14 turned out to be legitimate leaks, the remainder were actual-use.
- Cautioned residents about their meter vaults after crews found five rattlesnakes in one vault.
- The kayak ramp should be finished within days.
- The city is working with Towns County High School to build an arch leading into the park with picnic area and kayak ramp.
- Music on the Square has two shows left September 5 and September 12.
- Yoga on the Square every Saturday at 10, bring a mat and stretch for free.
- A rock with a plague paying homage to J.C. Berrong by his Sunday school class
- Lions club is having a shred day sat September 12 9-11 a.m. at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds Parking Lot for Towns County residents.
- Census closes on September 30.
- September 11 will be Patriots Day celebration at 9:45 on the square.